Skin ageing is increasingly becoming a more coommon concern even in the younger age group of people. Stressful lifestyle due to lack of adequate sleep, faulty eating habits, smoking and alcohol consumption on a regular basis along with exposure to ultraviolet radiation of sunlight, leads to early appearance of ageing signs.
Ageing signs include pigmentation, which causes uneven skin tone, freckles, melasma and age spots, fine lines around the eyes called as crow’s feet, deep wrinkles on the forehead and brow area and laugh lines. The person tends to appear much older than their biological age. Early greying of hair also adds to the ageing effect.
We will now analyse how most common factors causes skin ageing.
- Sleep deprivation: Long working hours have become the norm for most professional working class. Computer use is mandatory but it causes havoc to your skin when used execessively. Puffiness, fine lines and dark circles are very common in those who stay up late night, either working or idling away sleep time on social media. Whatever may be the reason for you to stay up, if you are not getting enough sleep, then the harm done is more than ageing. Cortisol is a stress hormone, which gets released in excess amounts when the body and mind are sleep deprived. Getting a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep is mandatory for good health, which reflects in the form of glowing skin.
- Diet: I have writtten a separate blog on diet alone. The saying that, ‘We are, what we eat’ cannot be more apt than in the case of diet and skin relationship. A healthy diet comprising of proper proportions of complex carbs, proteins and fats is absolutely essential for a healthy body. If there is any nutrient deficiency, then the first signs almost always appear on the skin. Consuming fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts and seeds on a daily basis is a must. Avoidance of junk food, which is mostly processed ready to eat, will keep excess body fat away and ageing signs can be halted significantly. Vitamin E, C and B complex are essential for building healthy skin cells, the lack of which, will result in collagen breakdown, pigmentation and dull skin. The loss of lustre in hair and nails also is attributed to nutrient deficiency. Excess consumption of sugar and dairy products are also detrimental to your health, specially skin. Keep your diet diet as raw and simple as possible, so that all nutrients are preserved and you get the best of nature. Go vegatarian for short periods of time, which will help in detox of your body and skin.
- Water: Drinking excess water is unnecessary and harmful, but not drinking enough water also leads to early ageing signs, by causing dehydration. Drink 8-12 glasses of water daily. Depending on your lifestyle, body type and weight, you will need to decide how much water to consume. A good indicator is the color of your urine. If its almost white or a very light yellow, then it means that you are drinking optimum amount of water.
- Smoking and alcohol consumption: Nicotine literally breaks down the collagen and elastic fibers in the skin, leading to all possible signs of ageing. Regular intake of alcohol causes dehydration and robs your body of essential nutrients too. Limit your alcohol consumption to as less as possible. An entire blog needs to be elaborated on smoking and alcohol, so I shall write on it seperately.
- Unprotected sun exposure: The ultraviolet radiation of sunlight is a major factor, leading to pigmentation in the form of age spots, freckles, melasma and general tanning of the face. The skin appears blotchy and dull. Breakdown of collagen leads to appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Application of a good quality sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 is mandatory, half hour before stepping out in the sun. Avoid strolling in the afternoon heat between 12:00-5:00, when the harsh rays of the sun are at its peak.
While ageing is inevitable and the mortal body will age, no matter what we do or don’t do, we can at least try to age gracefully. Regular practice of yoga with meditation also helps to keep the body and mind fit. It helps to destress us and boosts our immunity. If you do not like yoga then light exercise or a brisk walk of 30 minutes is also very beneficial. Breaking a sweat on a daily basis will help to increase the blood circulation in the face, which will help you look younger for longer. Use of good quality skin care products also help to repair daily damage that happens to the skin. Anti ageing skin treatments do help tremendously to reverse the signs of ageing, but ultimately its your lifestyle, which will help you maintain the results. Ultimately, it all comes down to a healthy lifestyle, which will help you not only to look apt for your age, but will also keep you active.
Most often people think that having certain foods will enhance the appearance of their skin. This is actually a myth, because your skin is a reflection of your inner health and is an integral part of your body. When body is healthy, skin will naturally glow with radiance. A person cannot be unhealthy, while have glowing skin! How can you expect a rotten banana to have bright yellow colour?
Maintaining healthy diet is essential, because it provides the much needed nutrients for optimum health. Skin, hair and nails are external parts of our body and so any problems with these structures indicate disturbance in your health.
So, what constitutes a healthy diet?
Healthy diet comprises of right portions of carbs, proteins and fats. Depending on your body type and frame, you will need a certain quantity of calories, which you can get it figured out with the help of a dietitian. I am outlying below few general guidelines on what to consume more often and what to avoid.
- Fruits and raw vegetables: These are absolutely rich sources of vitamins and minerals. 2-3 servings of fruits and salad should be consumed on a daily basis. Seasonal fruits are the best, because they are appropriate for that particular season and will be grown organically.
- Nuts: Unsalted and non- roasted nuts, specially almonds are good for general health, which reflects in the form of shiny hair and radiant skin. Vitamin E is abundant in almonds. Soak a few handful almonds overnight, peel off the almond skin next morning and consume it for breakfast.
- Green tea: Green tea contains antioxidants and refreshes each time we consume it. Try to substitute it for your regular tea and coffee. Now adays, a lot of flavoured green teas are available in the markets, which you can try for variety and fun.
- Water: Nearly 70-75% of our body is mostly made up of water, and so its essential to consume enough water through out the day to keep the body well hydrated. When adequate water is not consumed, then over a period of time, skin will tend to appear dehydrated and dull. Drinking excess water is also not recommended. On an average, each person needs about 8-12 glasses of water but the need can vary depending on age, gender, body type, weather conditions and physical activity.
- Exercise: This is the last but not the least requirement. Working out daily for at least 30 minutes tremendously boosts your over all health, emotions and mental health. Sweating leads to release of body toxins and the blood flow into your skin shows up as a nice warm glow. Its mandatory to get some form of exercise done daily. If you do not like to do strenuous workouts, then even gentle yoga will do wonders for your health.
- Sugar: The single most detrimental to out health, which also causes accelerated ageing, obesity and diabetes is sugar. It is present in almost everything that we consume, specially soda drinks, Indian styled tea and coffee, sweets, bakery items and the list is almost endless! Be cautious of your sugar intake and reduce or avoid it, where ever its possible.
- Fried and junk foods: Leads to obesity, high cholesterol, acne breakouts and eventually bad skin texture. Avoid it as much as possible and if you wish to consume it, then have home made fried foods, which is prepared using quality oil.
- Alcohol and smoking: Alcohol causes dehydration and so all effects of dehydration will show up on skin. Under eye bags and puffiness of face is commonly observed in alcoholics due to water retention. Nicotine causes collagen breakdown, leading to wrinkles and early ageing.
- Excess of dairy products causes acne eruption. The commercial production of dairy products involves hormonal injection, which gets indirectly consumed by humans also.
- Processed foods: Anything that is ready to eat and has an expiry date, should be avoided. All artificial colouring and flavouring agents have potential to cause allergies, which present as hives. They are loaded with excess calories, which are devoid of nutrition and hence should be best avoided or limit your consumption.
Remember always, your skin and hair is an integral part of your body and it cannot and should not be treated separately. Live healthy and enjoy beautiful skin.
Acne is a condition characterised by repeated breakouts in the skin, leading to brown spots and in severe cases, causes also scarring. Though the condition appears on the skin only, its causative factors are various and a person may have one or more of these causes. The main problem in acne is excess activity of oil glands and their blockage. Once the blockage of the oil glands occur, inflammation sets in, causing pain, redness and warmth over the acne spot. Eventually the acne spots breaks open, and heals by leaving behind brown spot or even a depression (scar). The various factors which cause excess activity of oil glands are discussed below.
- Hormones: Insulin, Insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) and androgens are the main culprits. Androgens are higher in concentration in those girls, who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome. While one cannot control the production of androgens; insulin and IGF-1 can be controlled by consuming healthy diet. These hormones also increase during excess stress.
- Diet: Diet very strongly impacts those who are prone to acne. Unhealthy diet, containing excess of sugar, carbs, fatty junk foods and dairy products. One should pay special attention to their diet and avoid the consumption of the mentioned food items. Instead consume more of vegetables, fruits and drink adequate quantity of water. Inclusion of green tea is also recommended.
- Stress: Stress has become a part and parcel of modern hectic schedules, which does not just affect the skin but entire human body, including emotional and mental health also. Stress causes imbalance of hormones and most people report to have almost overnight breakout due to excess work load and lack of sleep. The only effective and natural way to manage stress is regular exercise, meditation and yoga. Everyday, dedicate 30 minutes for your health and you will observe dramatic improvement in your over all health.
- Pollution, humidity and environmental factors: This is actually the least important factor and will worsen only existing acne. Dust and air pollutants only clog up the skin pores, which further aggravates acne.
Almost all the time, there is an underlying cause for acne, which is overlooked by most doctors. Treatment of acne goes beyond just treating the skin and when the actual cause gets addressed, acne will disappear for good!